Introducing...JAMES, 'The Prism Theology Nerd'
(The room is heavy with the flickering of fluorescent lights. The smell of burnt coffee doesn’t quite fill the air.)
...my name is James.
(I search the room for eye contact. I fail to find it)
I’m a...a...Theology Nerd.
(Slowly, an arrhythmic applause saunters about the room.)
(I clear my throat, this is going to be hard.)
...actually, I think you should be one too.
(A gasp, synchronized, perhaps even rehearsed, descends. Pearls are clutched. Ethel (is her name Ethel, she looks like an Ethel) nearly falls out of her chair, until she notices no one is watching, and quietly straightens her blouse. Stan, who can’t seem to remember my name, reminds me with his eyes that he killed a man during the war. I’m not sure which war, but the Civil one isn’t out of the question.)
No, hear me out.
I remember it clearly, I was 13 or 14 (okay, maybe not THAT clearly), and my youth pastor showed us “The Holiness of God,” by Dr. R.C. Sproul on VHS. He used funny sounding words that meant really important things, like simul justus et peccator. I mean...come on... SIMUL JUSTUS ET PECCATOR.
Anyway, I was hooked. Forget Star Trek, R.C. was my Captain Picard. I read everything I could, bought a systematic theology with birthday money, listened to reformed radio (yes...radio) programs. It was great. Something amazing had happened; my faith was no longer about simply “being good,” it was something that I could explore intellectually. Christianity wasn’t a private feeling, it was something to be thought about, discussed, debated, and digested.
(But James, theology is all head and no heart.)
Well, it can be, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve been guilty of Theologian Pride. But, in reality everyone’s a theologian (that’d make a good book title). We all believe something about God, and those beliefs inform how we live, for better or worse. And, for the Christian, this is really important. Our faith depends on a particular set of truth claims about who God is, who man is, how he interacts with the world, and how the divide between “man and the divine” is overcome.
Needless to say, this is vital stuff.
It is important to know what we believe, and why we believe it. It should be the desire of our hearts to know God better. That is the goal of studying theology. And that is the goal of this blog series, to take some of those ivory tower sounding theological terms, break them down, explore why they matter, and to know God better.